We all want the world to notice us — not just to look at us, but to know who we really are. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but body modification gets us noticed a little more quickly. Tattoos and piercings give the quick version of our personalities before we even open our mouths.

Once we catch someone’s attention with unique body jewelry or an amazing tattoo, body art is the world’s fastest icebreaker. What better way to start a conversation than to ask about that unusual nose ring or great tattoo?

At one time, sailors and belly dancers were the only ones with tattoos and body piercings. In those days, there weren’t so many obvious ways to strike up conversations with people we didn’t know. It used to be that an interesting haircut, bizarre saying on a t-shirt, or cool shoes were the best conversation starters. These days, we have something more permanent. We might get tired of that t-shirt that seemed so funny a few weeks ago, or move on to a different hairstyle almost as quickly.

Body modification requires some commitment, imagination and even bravery. New shoes or clothes will end up in a donation pile by next year, and a haircut should probably never cause any physical pain. Getting a tattoo or body piercing means choosing something personal, interesting, and meaningful enough to be worth some money, a little pain, and, in most cases, a lifetime commitment.

Body modification can be an amazing form of self-expression. A tattoo can show the world how much we love anime, music, or our moms. It can tell everyone about our most-loved vacation spot, a pet, our best friend or our favorite work of art.

Body piercings may not tell our personal stories in an obvious way, but they are just as personal. Our choice of nose rings, belly rings, earrings and other cartilage rings is an expression of our personal style. Gold studs dotted with tiny stones show off our elegant side, while something bigger in pewter is a little bolder.

Everyone has a story to tell. Whether we express ourselves through tattoos, body piercings or both, body modification is like a good movie trailer. It expresses what we’re all about in a nutshell, so that hopefully others will be intrigued enough to get to know the whole package.

 

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